UK jobs | Vacancies plummeted by more than 60% in Q2

Vacancies plummeted by more than 60% in Q2

The unprecedented devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the UK workforce are yet to be fully realised; recent ONS data discovered that over 600,000 people lost their jobs within the lockdown, whilst each day different companies announce redundancies and downsizing as they struggle to regain normality.

This week, Marks & Spencer is expected to reveal its latest spate of job cuts, after revealing that it plans to ‘restructure’ its workforce. It joins the likes of John Lewis & Partners, Boots and Debenhams in culling roles.

And these cuts aren’t localised to the retail industry. New data from CV-Library has found that overall job numbers plummeted by 62.7% in Q2 2020, compared to the previous year and by a further 61.2% quarter-on-quarter as businesses struggled to function during the pandemic.

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The study analysed millions of data points from the CV-Library site between April 1 and June 30, 2020, to build an understanding of how the UK jobs market faired during these challenging months. It discovered that the largest drop in vacancies year-on-year was experienced in all corners of the UK, including Bristol (down 70.2%), Leeds (down 69.6%), Birmingham (down 68%) and Glasgow (down 67.9%).

Numbers are ‘pretty bleak’

“It’s no secret that lockdown measures stunted the UK economy and labour market during this period,” commented CV-Library Founder Lee Biggins. “As a result, businesses had no choice but to put a pause on their hiring plans and make difficult decisions about their workforce. These figures are pretty bleak and naturally, some industries and locations have been more affected by others. What I can say, however, is that the market is already showing signs of recovery this month, albeit it very, very slowly.” 

When looking at data for the sectors that saw the biggest fall in job adverts during this period, top roles included administration (down 86.6%), design (down 85.8%), sales (down 84.1%), recruitment (down 82.3%), catering (down 81.9%), media (down 81.7%), marketing (down 80.9%), leisure/tourism (down 78.5%), hospitality (down 78.1%) and customer service (down 77.5%).

And despite job security being a major concern for many professionals right now, job applications actually dropped by 23.3% year-on-year, during Q2. However, applications did rise in industries that relied on key workers during COVID-19 including agriculture (up 219.8%), the public sector (up 179.3%), medical (up 27.7%) and social care (up 13.5%).

Alongside this, when looking at the average application to job ratio across the UK, the data shows that this rose by 84% quarter-on-quarter; meaning there are more people competing for every open job. The cities that saw the biggest increase in applications per vacancy were Bristol (up 175.4%), Edinburgh (up 128.7%), Brighton (up 137.3%), Southampton (up 124.9%) and Leicester (up 117.1%). 

“While applications dropped overall, there were less jobs being advertised and that means there’s a lot more competition for the roles that are available,” Biggins continued. “In addition to this, while the furlough scheme has been a life support to hundreds of thousands of businesses, it does also mean that the national employment rate is possibly higher than it should be right now. As a result, we expect to see applications pick up in the coming months, as more people are forced to look for new jobs,” he concluded.

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